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Common Core Not Aligned With Basic Facts of Human Development

Jun 3, 2015 by

Physics professor Joseph Ganem points out what should be obvious – kindergarteners are not ready developmentally to do what Common Core requires of them.

Joseph Ganem, a professor of physics at Loyola University Maryland, wrote a terrific op/ed in the Balitmore Sun.  He points out something that should have been obvious to those writing the Common Core.  Most kids simply are not ready in Kindergarten to do the work that they are expected to do with Common Core.

He writes:

Recent evaluations of the state’s preschoolers have determined that only 47 percent are ready for kindergarten, compared to 83 percent judged ready last year. This drastic drop isn’t the result of an abrupt, catastrophic decline in the cognitive abilities of our children. Instead it results from a re-definition of kindergarten readiness, which now means being able to succeed academically at a level far beyond anything expected in the past. For example, a child entering kindergarten is now expected to know the difference between informative/explanatory writing and opinion writing. The concern is that preschoolers without that knowledge will not succeed at meeting the new higher-level Common-Core standards. However, I think a more pressing concern is: Why do we have educational standards that are not aligned with even the most basic facts of human development? Clearly these test results show that the problem is with the standards, not the children.

Educational attainment is part of human development, and fundamentally this is a biological process that cannot be sped up. We cannot wish away our biological limitations because we find them inconvenient. Children will learn crawling, walking, listening, talking and toilet training, all in succession at developmentally appropriate ages. Once in school, for skills that require performing a physical task, that are in what Bloom’s Taxonomy classifies as the “psychomotor domain,” it is understood that children will only learn when they are physically and developmentally ready. No one expects four-year olds to type fluently on a computer keyboard, play difficult Chopin Etudes on the piano, prepare elaborate meals in the kitchen or drive a car.

However, for skills in what Bloom calls the “cognitive domain,” the school curriculum has become blind not only to the progression of normal child development but also to natural variations in the rate that children develop. It is now expected that pre-school children should be able to grasp sophisticated concepts in mathematics and written language. In addition, it is expected that all children should be at the same cognitive level when they enter kindergarten, and proceed through the entire grade-school curriculum in lock step with one another. People, who think that all children can learn in unison, have obviously never worked with special needs children or the gifted and talented.

Read more.

Ganem points out that Common Core doesn’t speed up child development.  But hey I’m sure advocates think these standards are so great they can overcome what has been understood by every child psychologist, child development specialist and parent for years.

Source: Common Core Not Aligned With Basic Facts of Human Development | Truth in American Education

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6 Comments

  1. VermonTeach802

    As “Wyogirl” states above, it is critical that people (ALL people – parents, reporters, politicians, taxpayers) actually read the standards rather than simply repeat the unfounded arguments they’ve heard in the media. This article states some great misconceptions that are the result of misunderstanding the CCSS (example: kindergarteners don’t need to be able to tell the difference between informative and opinion writing – they need to be able to respond appropriately to a question such as “Tell me about…” or “What is your favorite..”). It’s right in the standards – go ahead and read them yourself!
    Also important to note is that these are the standards for the END of each grade level – kids make amazing gains every year in school, even with limited home support – so it’s not crazy to think that kindergarteners can achieve this by June.
    Additionally, schools aren’t necessarily rolling out every standard in each grade right away – many are adopting “Non-negotiables” intended to get the most important points practiced with rigor. This will only be the case until kids begin to come through with more of the prerequisite skills needed for the whole body of standards at each grade.
    Common Core is very similar to the standards that we had before up here in VT (where there isn’t often much national kool-aid drinking going on, unless it’s organic, and we also weren’t invited to Pearson luncheons, TYVM). The standards themselves are not outrageous, and I wish that people would stop confusing the actual standards with their political roll-out and standardized testing. For the record, no one likes being told what to do, and even our administrators chafe at being forced to change their schools’ curriculum.
    As a 5th grade teacher, I can say that the kids who have had CCSS-aligned teaching for the last few years are doing INCREDIBLE thinking and writing. We have quite a bit of freedom in how we teach the CCSS in our small school, so perhaps that’s where a major difference lies – our administrators and parents TRUST US TO DO THE TEACHING. Gosh, what a novel idea, right? Let the professionals navigate the field to which they’ve devoted their lives. Wow!
    Are the standards perfect for everyone across the country? No, definitely not yet, but the overall goal is sound: that ALL kids should be able to argue their points of view using evidence and professional vocabulary by a certain age. All kids should be able to explain how their mathematical equation is correct by decomposing it in a different way. All kids should be able to read and evaluate the text for author bias.
    It’s really not that crazy.

    • Jimmy Kilpatrick

      Love to see the data to support just how wonderful these kids are doing according to you. The reading sections of Common Core isn’t based on anything that medical/scientific community supports. The math sections has more holes in it then any reasonable person would think is nothing short then educational mal-practice. Common Core days are numbers and thank God Texas never has bought into this social justice curriculum.

    • JBC

      As a parent, I just want to thank the Common Core for my making my daughter HATE kindergarten. Do you know why she hated it? Because “we never get to play, mama” is what she told me. Did she learn how to read by the end of kindergarten? Yes, but it was at the cost of her love of learning and love of school. It also took an extreme emotional toll on our family as a whole because I had to drop her off at a place that she hated everyday with a teacher who was ordered by CC to get those kids reading and writing full sentences and counting to 100 by June. I’m glad that you see children who are benefiting from the CC, but I also want you to look at the cost to their self-esteem and emotional health. I don’t give a single shit if my child can decompose a math equation by 2nd grade or argue her point of view by 3rd. All I want is for her to love learning, love school, and feel emotionally safe and secure at the place that I have to drop her off for 185 days of the year. If all of that is in place, the learning will occur naturally.

      • Maria smith

        So agree as a 39 year educator! You are correct in that your child must love going to school in order to gain the most from any curriculum. I am sorry for the very bottom of my heart that you had to feel the angst of dropping off your child knowing she did not want to be there. Please take some solace in that most teachers make sure that mtheirmstudenta love school in spite of the mandates thrust upon them. I pray that your child has one of those teachers this coming year and beyond.

  2. Mary

    While I understand how the admin/supervisors are for the most part paid sergeants in the Common Core army who do what they are told –
    I am most distressed by the cadre of teachers who drank the Common Core Kool-Aid by being invited to Pearson luncheons and all day PDs and actually think it’s a good idea that k-2 kids spend hours ‘mmining’ informational text facts and writing opinion pieces as if they are budding data researchers or paralegals using ‘text evidence.’ Can we add there is NO phonics piece -and very little word work to actually teach young childre HOW to read?
    And when you try and say it is developmentally INappropriate, you are accused of living in the past.

    • wyogirl

      I teach kindergarten. I used the common core standards as my guide this year. They are 99% identical to the state standards that have been used for many many years. I can assure you that there are indeed phonics standards in the common core. If you google cc.K.RF.3 you will see that the standard topic is completely devoted to phonics. It states: “Know and apply grade level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.” 3a,3b,3c and 3d address more specific skills. My kindergartners left kindergarten knowing HOW to read. I would also point out the words “grade-level appropriate” that are used in this standard and many of the other standards. We are not being asked to teach concepts that are not appropriate to the grade level. Please, please, please read the actual standards – I think you will find that they are not as scary,crazy, terrible, etc. as TV personalities would have you believe. They are not perfect, but they are certainly not ruining our children…or America. As far as the article goes, children in pre-k and Kindergarten are not expected to understand the different forms of writing to the same degree as an adult. Knowing the difference between informational writing and opinion writing is not a kindergarten standard – I would ask the author to please give the actual standard citation when making claims about their validity. The standards are easily found online – you can google specific standards, or just go to the common core website and read them in their entirety. (corestandards.org) My kindergartners learned that there is a difference between fiction books – stories that are not real and non-fiction books. They learned that if a story has paintings/drawings and has characters that are animals wearing clothes and acting like humans, that it is work of fiction. If a book has photographs and facts about real animals then it is a non-fiction book. As far as opinion writing goes, the standard in kindergarten is that children learn that if you write something like “I like the story about Goldilocks. It is good.” that is an opinion. It is how you feel about the story and someone else might not like it (CCSS.K.W.1.)

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